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The Oxford History of Protestant Dissenting Traditions, Volume IIThe Long Eighteenth Century c. 1689-c. 1828$
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Andrew Thompson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702245

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198702245.001.0001

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(p.77) 4 Quakers
The Oxford History of Protestant Dissenting Traditions, Volume II

Richard C. Allen

Oxford University Press

Although the Toleration Act (1689) eased the position of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in many ways, the path towards full tolerance and acceptance remained rough. Their refusal to take oaths of allegiance meant that another expedient to demonstrate loyalty had to be found. Likewise, the refusal to pay tithes or to serve in the militia were also areas of contention. In an attempt to distance themselves from radical seventeenth-century associations, they sought to develop frameworks to provide for the internal regulation of the behaviour of their members. A number of popular customs, such as drinking and gambling, were regarded as inappropriate and there was a growing emphasis on the importance of marrying within the community. Although the enforcement of this code had an impact on the size of the membership, from the middle of the eighteenth century, Friends were increasingly involved in ‘respectable’ business and often did well within this context.

Keywords:   affirmation crisis, Darbys of Coalbrookdale, George Fox, Elizabeth Fry, marriage, moral discipline, pacifism, Quakers, Religious Society of Friends, Yearly Meeting

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